Tony Pulis will be approached over the vacant Crystal Palace manager’s job after Ian Holloway quit on Wednesday admitting that he was exhausted and no longer sure he was the right man to save the club, who are 19th in the Premier League.
Pulis will be spoken to over the next 24 hours by co-chairman Steve Parish who said that the former Stoke City manager’s record of never having been relegated was a key factor in making him an attractive prospect for the club, who have three points from eight games. Parish said: “I think, Tony has never got relegated has he? He’s out of work, got Premier League experience. Not a bad shout.”
Parish said that he would potentially speak to former managers Steve Coppell and Neil Warnock about a potential director of football role. He conceded that the club had found themselves completely out of their depth in the summer after they were promoted via the play-offs and were faced with the prospect of strengthening their squad for life in the top-flight.
Holloway also said that he had lost the “spirit” of the group of players that were promoted from the Championship last season. The 50-year-old is understood to have resigned on Monday night following the 4-1 defeat to Fulham at Selhurst Park but was told by Parish and his co-chairman Stephen Browett to re-think his decision.
Pulis has been in the frame for the Sunderland job when Paolo Di Canio was sacked this month and it now looks like the Palace job is his to turn down. The former Stoke manager has been filling his time doing punditry work since leaving Stoke. Holloway said yesterday that Pulis was one of his “best mates”, and intimated that he would endorse the club’s decision to give him the job.
In an open and plain-speaking press conference at a central London hotel, Parish and Holloway effectively admitted that they were out of their depth and unprepared for life in the Premier League. Less than five months after they were promoted following a win over Watford in the play-off final, Holloway said that he had made mistakes bringing in 16 players over the summer, including six on deadline day.
“We tried to change too quickly,” Holloway said. “You have to look at what I wanted to do and why I wanted to do it [in terms of the style of his team]. We need to shut up shop and defend a bit better When I talk about that with the group it unsettles them because they were so good at doing different things.
“At the minute we have a whole new group. I didn’t like the second half [against Fulham]. I like to inspire people and help people. I believe the club is in a fantastic position. I am very happy with my relationship with Steve. I am very tired to be honest. I said to Steve, ‘Am I the one with the energy left? Am I the one who can stand there and say we can beat Arsenal and get a draw elsewhere?’
“It’s really important that you keep your dignity. With the changes in the squad I have to hold my hand up. We didn’t keep that spirit that got us up, we lost some very important parts of it. I think we have tried to change too quickly. Some of the new lads, their attitude and where it is, I’m finding it slightly annoying and that ain’t right.
“So I think someone fresh coming in right now with more experience at this level [would help]. They have got 30 games left and I understand how wonderful it is for Palace to enjoy those games and not have all this circus flowing around us.” Later he admitted that Palace had “got worse rather than better” since promotion.
“The way I care is a tad unusual,” Holloway said. “I believe I could sell a fridge to an Eskimo if I believe that myself. That’s what helped us get to the Premier League. The four co-chairmen are unique. They are supporters of the club, they put their own money in and they saved it. If I thought for one minute I wasn’t helping. Seven defeats out of eight I don’t think is good enough.”
Parish said that he had tried to talk Holloway out of his decision and had only accepted his resignation reluctantly. He blamed the club’s “tiny infrastructure” for their failure to get organised in signing players during the summer. He said that modern online scouting systems were “part the solution, part the devil’s machine”. Keith Millen, Holloway’s assistant, will be in charge of the team for Saturday’s game against Arsenal.
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